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Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Starbucks to announce Ethiopian Trademark deal this month

According to a recent report by Anton Foek for CorpWatch, Starbucks is on the verge of signing a historic, progressive deal whereby the company would recognize Ethiopia's decision to trademark three of its coffees, rather than certifiy the bean names:


"What the Ethiopians have demanded is Starbucks' support for the country's innovative plan to trademark three of its coffees - Harar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe. Until now, the world's largest specialty coffee retailer has resisted the move, arguing instead for certification of bean names. Trademarking, say critics, would give power to growers; certification, they argue, is toothless.

The dispute sounds technical, but at root the controversy is about trying to close the gap between the $4 a Western consumer may pay for a cappuccino and the 50 cents a day earned by a laborer on an Ethiopian coffee farm (or on farms elsewhere in the world: see Brazil box).

Every penny counts, for individuals (an estimated 11 million Ethiopians, about one-fifth of the population, depend on coffee for their livelihoods) and for the nation (coffee provides two-thirds of the country's export earnings)."


See the entire May 8th, 2007 Food and Agricultre article,Trademarking Coffee: Starbucks cuts Ethopia Deal, for more details and further background.

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